THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter winner Sam Springett

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THE ELSEWHERE SONGWRITER QUESTIONNAIRE: University of Auckland songwriter winner Sam Springett

Every year many of the students in Auckland University's popular music course enter a Songwriter of the Year competition in which they perform their original songs backed by a professional band (and often with some fellow students pitching in).

This year's final was at the Raye Freedman Arts Centre on Thursday Sept 20 and Elsewhere thought we should throw the same questionnaire at the students as we did with the Apra Silver Scroll nominees (see here). Of course many of these students hadn't recorded their music (yet) so we can't post a track.

Here is the winner Sam Springett who "grew up in Nelson playing the violin. These days he shares his music with the advertising world and one of his songs has been used by Telecom. Performing many regular gigs in the past has allowed Sam to absorb music from all sorts of styles, and he enjoys envisioning thoughtful and chill sounds in his own music. Known for his subtly insightful lyrics, his music comes from the small observations in everyday life. For Sam, every day of the week is music day." His Facebook page is here.

The first song which really affected you was . . .

Probably Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. The coughing man at the beginning and the line “two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl” did it for me.

Your first (possibly embarrassing) role models in music were . . .

in a timescale sense a (now retired) J.Pop boy band called S.M.A.P *cringe* followed later by Norah Jones.

The one songwriter you will always listen to, even if they disappointed you previously, is?

Definitely David Gray. I didn’t like one of his new albums as much as the others but still spent a lot of time with it. Kept noticing little bits of brilliant until it grew on me.

As songwriters: Lennon-McCartney or Jagger-Richards; kd lang or Katy Perry; Madonna or Michael Jackson; Prince or Pink?

I think they all as songwriters do exceptionally considering their different audiences.

The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear because they are well crafted are . . .

If my own, I would say my newest song “Slow Dance”... For others, “I Never Learnt To Share” by James Blake and “Pyramid Song” by Radiohead certainly sound like a lot of thought have been put in but then again, well crafted is quite subjective in my opinion.

Melody first? Words or phrase first? Simultaneous?


The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .

Still getting round to sitting down with a legendary biography.

220px_David_Gray___Seattle___2010If you could co-write with anyone it would be . . .

A toss up between Chris Martin and David Gray (right).

The three songs you'd insist anybody listen to because they might understand your songwriting style better are . . .

My stuff? I think understanding will come with time.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Never bought a disk in my life actually. Looking in “Recently Added” it seems like Jim Guthrie and Ben Howard!

One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you would be . . .

I’d be quite happy with one of my songs “Supermarket Wunderland” just out of the satisfaction of being someone who knows what it’s truly about.

One line (or couplet) from a song -- yours or someone else's -- which you think is just a stone cold winner is . . .

“To pull you up on to dry land, but all I got is sinking sand” by David Gray is what comes to mind first.

Songwriting: what's the ratio of inspiration/perspiration?

Wouldn't want to hold either in a measuring cup, but I’d guess pretty even.

Ever had a song come to you fully-formed like it dropped into your lap?

Sure. I’ve got a few songs like that but it’s very rare that I don’t edit/work them afterwards.

And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best song ever?”

Our passion is song. My goal is to move someone every single day

Haha but seriously, I do my best to reach out to anyone musically and inspire and take them somewhere. Hopefully I’ll be asked to again in the future by heaps and heaps of people! It’s really a fantastic feeling which I can’t get enough of and never will.

Is it my best song ever? Maybe not in my eyes but it could be to some and it’s my confidence in that which probably makes it so.

To read the responses of other finalists in this competition go here.

To book tickets for the final: phone: 09 361 1000 or 0508 iTICKET If you are calling from outside of Auckland. Service fees may apply.
Concession may be claimed on production of suitable ID. $15 full price / $10 concessions / $5 school students

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Your Comments

adam - Sep 24, 2012

that last comment is a haiku - Japan, right? You should properly format it

Our passion is song/
My goal is to move someone/
every single day

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